TAIPEI — The Taiwan High Prosecutors Office vowed yesterday to harshly crack down on anyone caught hoarding food staples as part of the government’s efforts to stabilize food prices amid a string of price hikes following the Lunar New Year.
The office said it has started collecting evidence by monitoring prices of major consumer products. Anyone found to have engaged in hoarding will be severely punished to the fullest extent of the law, it said.
Those guilty of illegal activities such as hoarding daily necessities, manipulating food supplies or product prices could be sentenced to jail terms of up to five years or fines of up to NT$3,000 (US$100).
Yen Da-ho, chief prosecutor of the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, said the office will first target upstream and midstream businesses.
Local prosecutors offices across the country have since before the Lunar New Year been cracking down on the stockpiling of food, he said, adding that a national ad hoc meeting will be held to monitor food prices nationwide.
President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Wu Den-yih have both expressed grave concern over rising prices for basic food prices.
Wu called the food price issue a “national security issue” earlier that same day in a weekly Cabinet meeting, and demanded that all agencies keep a close eye on the food price situation.